By Jenevra Wetmore
This winter, Sustainable Woodstock is partnering with Efficiency Vermont to bring free energy walk throughs to local businesses. These consultations help business owners understand where they can save energy and money, and how to prioritize and invest in efficiency upgrades.
Businesses that work with Efficiency Vermont get access to new incentive offers, financing solutions, and technical advice to lower their energy costs and improve the health and comfort of their buildings.
Small businesses are the backbone of our local economy. When a business invests in energy efficiency, they are investing in the resilience of our whole community. Through Sustainable Woodstock’s partnership, businesses will have the focused attention of Efficiency Vermont energy advisor Meghan Chambers, who can make it easy for business owners to hammer out an efficiency game plan. Many businesses walk away with low-and-no cost ways to cut energy expenses immediately.
Waterbury LEAP (Local Energy Action Partnership) is a volunteer-run Town Energy Committee and nonprofit in Waterbury, VT. They have long partnered with Efficiency Vermont to conduct energy walk throughs for local businesses, starting 12 years ago. Duncan McDougall, the Chairman of LEAP, emphasized that it is important for businesses to hear advice “from an expert, and to have it written down. It really encourages (them) to make changes happen.”
Sunflower Natural Foods in Waterbury Center requested one of the energy walkthroughs. Owner John DiCarlo later commented: “The walkthrough with (Efficiency Vermont energy advisor) Paul Grenier was definitely very useful. Paul provided information about Efficiency Vermont and what they do, and some of the rebate possibilities with the various programs that are available. He had access to a program that will provide a rebate on replacing our overhead fluorescent lighting with LED fixtures which will be a very rapid payback within a three-month period and offer a significant long term electric bill savings. Paul provided me with a clear presentation of the savings and also contacted an electrical supplier that provided me with a rapid quote to be able to make an informed decision. Paul also made me aware of potential programs for future equipment purchases that are ENERGY STAR® rated. I would recommend any business owner to contact Efficiency Vermont and check out the excellent programs and various resources available .”
Some ways Efficiency Vermont can help your business include: HVAC system upgrades, refrigeration systems, weatherization, agricultural equipment, and smart connected technology and controls. These categories include technology such as: heat pumps, advanced wood heating, ventilation, efficient refrigerators and adding doors to case refrigerators, smart thermostats, equipment controls, dairy and maple sugaring equipment, and lighting. In addition to technology, Efficiency Vermont can help weatherize your building by working with a trained Building Performance contractor in their network. Weatherizing improves comfort, energy and cost savings, and businesses may be eligible to receive up to $3,000 in incentives.
Efficiency Vermont is also able to assist business owners in taking advantage of rebates and navigate Business Energy Loans (BEL). These loans are available to any qualifying energy efficiency project that comes through Efficiency Vermont and are for a wide range of organizations, including nonprofits, for-profit businesses, farms, municipalities, and owners of qualifying rental housing. With no closing costs and $0 down, these loans have low interest rates (currently 3.5% – 5.5%), no closing costs, and a $50,000 loan cap. If your business is selecting from multiple contractor proposals for work you need done, Efficiency Vermont is also able to provide objective evaluations to help you choose the best person for the job.
You can expect energy walk throughs to last anywhere from 40 minutes to an hour and a half, depending on the size of the business. It is useful to have your heating and electricity bills handy, if possible. Woodstock’s Efficiency Vermont advisor, Meghan, will meet the business owner and move through the building, addressing specific concerns that the business owner has and identifying areas to save energy. Specifically, Meghan will inspect systems that draw energy; lighting, heating, cooling, and special equipment. She may also inspect the building’s level of insulation and air sealing. These consultations are available to businesses that rent and do not own their building, though Efficiency Vermont recommends inviting the landlord to the walk-through or having a meeting after the fact.
As a community we’ve learned the importance of resilience, having lived with a pandemic these past two years. One thing that can make a business more resilient is energy efficiency. A Business Energy Walk Through is a great way to increase resilience, spend less money on energy, create a healthier and more comfortable environment for customers and staff, and to do something good for the planet.
Interested businesses should call Efficiency Vermont directly at 888-921-5990 or email email@example.com to sign up.
Energy efficiencies—such as robust attic insulation and proper roof ventilation—result in significant savings on heating fuel costs. In addition, more heat goes toward keeping interior spaces comfortable, rather than melting snow off of the roof.